Monthly Archives: May 2013

Inspiring report from Australia coal activist gathering

Kristin Gillies and Jenny Campbell from Coal Action Network Aotearoa have just spent 3 days at Australia’s largest-ever gathering of coal and gas activists

Kristin sends this report:

Three days amongst 250 of Australia’s most inspiring coal and gas campaigners has been a surprisingly emotional experience. As I reflect on the journey of the past few days I am left with a deep sense of respect for these people and those around the world so heavily impacted by the fossil fuel industry.

In my daily life and work it has been easy to overlook the widespread harm the industry is causing to right now to ordinary people every day. This conference has brought this home for me and I would like to share that with you. Continue reading

Jeanette Fitzsimons: Government backs another loser


The beauty of the Denniston Plateau.  Photo: Forest & Bird

The beauty of the Denniston Plateau. Photo: Forest & Bird

Conservation Minister Nick Smith’s announcement today that he’ll grant Australian mining company Bathurst access to mine part of the Denniston Plateau is a sign that the Government has learnt nothing from Solid Energy’s financial debacle, says Jeanette Fitzsimons of Coal Action Network Aotearoa.

Ms Fitzsimons is a member of the Coal Action Network Aotearoa’s national organising group, and has also worked with the West Coast Environment Network on its Supreme Court case arguing that climate change must be taken into account in consents on coal mining.

The financially strapped Bathurst, which announced this week that it’s dropping 20 staff currently working on a major part of its income stream, the Cascade mine, and pulling its drill rigs out of the Denniston Plateau to keep it “cash positive”.

“The Government appears hell-bent on backing yet another financially precarious coal company. It has changed the law retrospectively to give itself the power to allow access for mining, contrary to the requirements of the Conservation Act.

“Why allow this struggling company to rip the heart out of our precious conservation estate and wreck the climate?  This is not what the people want and it will be opposed all the way, from in the courts to on the land.

“Why back coal, a sunset industry, when we could be getting ahead of the clean energy curve? All around the world investors are getting out of coal because they know 80% of it can never be burned if we are to stay within a safe level of climate change.

“Papers released by Treasury this week show that Solid Energy advised the Government in 2010 to mine as much as possible, as fast as possible, before the world sees the light and moves to renewable energy.  It appears to me that the Government has wholeheartedly embraced Solid’s plan to destroy as much of the climate as possible before they are stopped,” said Fitzsimons.

Coal Action Network May 2013 Newsletter

Kia Ora Koutou,

Welcome to our May newsletter.

Here at CANA we have been talking a lot about “life beyond coal”, and what the alternatives are for coal mining communities in New Zealand. This was one of the main topics of discussion at a recent event hosted by Canterbury Coal Action – see below for a report on this wonderful evening. It is time that all New Zealanders became part of this conversation, as communities in the coal mining area of Appalachia are now doing. They are looking to Wales as a model, as the Welsh coalfields were mostly shut down in the 1980’s, so communities there have already faced the question of how to reinvent themselves as natural resources are depleted. Another great example is Kayenta, Arizona, where they are working to replace coal with green jobs. These overseas examples can provide ideas and inspiration for us here in Aotearoa as we work together to create our own future beyond coal.

To see this dream realised, we must keep challenging every new coal development. Hence a myriad of groups are collaborating to oppose Fonterra’s proposed mine at Mangatawhiri – more on that in this newsletter! Also this month Forest and Bird have announced that they will appeal the Environment Court’s decision on Bathurst’s proposal to mine the Denniston Plateau. Read on to be brought up to speed on this, thanks to Jeanette.

To get involved in any of these campaigns, or to get connected to a local coal action group in your area, do drop us an email at .

Please also let us know if you have any upcoming events you want us to list in the next newsletter – due in June.

In solidarity,

Tarsh Turner

1. Solid Energy
2. Denniston Update
3. Fonterra’s proposed mine at Mangatawhiri
4. Canterbury Coal Action event
5. Climate Denier in NZ
6. Bill McKibben’s “Do The Math” tour
7. International and science roundup

Continue reading

Bill McKibben’s “Do The Maths” Tour: Auckland, Dunedin and Wellington, June 2013

Here’s an exciting invitation from 350 Aotearoa:

Get your tickets now!  Bill McKibben’s DO THE MATHS tour is coming to New Zealand

One of the world’s most respected speakers and activists on climate change, award winning author and journalist, leader of the Keystone XL pipeline protests in the US – Bill McKibben – is bringing his Do The Maths talk to New Zealand in June.

After the massive success of the Do the Maths Tour, which sold out shows in every corner of the United States last year, 350 Aotearoa is bringing Bill McKibben to New Zealand for 3 big nights.

  • Auckland – Tuesday, 11 June, Epsom Girls Grammar School Hall, 7-8.30pm
  • Dunedin – Wednesday, 12 June, venue tbc
  • Wellington – Thursday, 13 June, The Embassy Theatre, 7-8.30pm

Live video links are being organised in several other centres – details available soon.  For more information, or to offer to host a link in your area, email

This is definitely not your typical lecture. Bill will be laying out the simple (but startling) maths on climate change – and calling on New Zealanders to join the global movement to change them.

A climate change maths lesson that might just change the world.

The maths are simple: we can burn less than 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The problem? Fossil fuel companies have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all — unless we do the maths to change our future.

Details and tickets are available at .  If you have questions or want to volunteer to help, email

About Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben, a well-known environmental author and activist, is the founder of, an international climate change campaign, which is named for the maximum safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million.

When he’s not busy organising, Bill is a writer on the climate crisis and other environmental issues. His 1989 book The End of Nature was the first book to warn the general public about the threat of global warming. Bill is a contributor to The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Orion Magazine, Mother Jones, The New York Review of Books, Granta, Rolling Stone, and Outside. He is a board member and contributor to Grist Magazine. He has been awarded Guggenheim and Lyndhurst Fellowships, and won the Lannan Prize for nonfiction writing. He is currently a Scholar in Residence at Middlebury College and lives in Ripton, Vermont with his wife, author Sue Halpern, and daughter Sophie.

Bill McKibben’s New Zealand visit is being organised by 350 Aotearoa, and supported by many partner organisations.  You can check them out at or email them at